If you were injured in a car accident due to another person’s negligence, it is important to understand the settlement process. An experienced car accident attorney can guide you through the process of settling an Omaha car accident case. With their help, you can make sure you get the compensation you are entitled to.
Determining Whether to Settle
The client is the one to decide whether to settle, or whether to go to trial, after receiving sound counsel from their attorney. There are many factors to consider when making the decision to settle or go to trial. One of the reasons why someone might settle rather than going to trial is if the amount of money offered is close to what he or she believes is fair and equitable. If the prospects of going to a jury trial for a few days or longer to get the same or less is not worth the effort a person may also decide to settle.
An individual might also take a settlement because his or her claim is doubtful or difficult to explain in front of a jury, his or her injuries may not be apparent to a jury, or his or her case is more difficult to establish. On the other hand, one reason to go to trial is if the injured party is not offered fair compensation for his or her injuries.
There are no set parameters as to what a person must do or cannot do for a settlement. However, a car accident settlement in Omaha will almost universally result in a release of liability for the at-fault party in exchange for a certain sum of money. Structured settlements were more common in the past; however, injured parties can now generally expect a lump sum payment in the settlement of a claim.
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Calculating a Damage Award in Omaha
To calculate an appropriate car accident settlement, a lawyer assesses the injured party’s lost wages, cost of medical treatment, unpaid expenses, and other economic damages. These damages are typically immediately provable. Injured people should be compensated for all of their medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses such as prescription medications and refills.
On the other hand, to prove non-economic damages, subjectivity is necessary. The lawyer evaluates the person’s health and recovery. The lawyer determines the difficulty or ease of the recovery process and what is a reasonable expectation as far as an award of pain and suffering or emotional distress.
If the person has not fully recovered, the lawyer determines whether they reached maximum medical improvement. If the individual remains permanently disabled, the lawyer may determine a value for their permanent disability. When all the damages are identified and calculated, the lawyer then prepares a demand letter with a settlement offer for the insurance company. The insurance company responds with a counteroffer and the parties go back and forth until they arrive at a figure each is willing to accept.
Though it is possible to handle your settlement without an attorney, it could be a detriment to your case. Insurance companies often take advantage of plaintiffs and urge them to quickly accept low settlement offers. A skilled lawyer can ensure the other party takes your claim seriously.
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How Is a Case Settled if it Goes to Trial?
If you and the other party cannot negotiate a settlement figure, the case will go to trial, where a jury determines the amount of compensation you should receive. Lawyers give the jury their suggestions on how to calculate the amount of the settlement. As long as there is no gross abuse of discretion or serious dereliction of their duties, their decision will be the award.
An attorney may direct the jury to calculate what they believe is a fair amount or they may give them a formula to help them do so. The jury adds the economic and non-economic damages to reach a total figure. The jury will also determine whether the plaintiff is contributorily negligent and if so, how much. When the plaintiff is found to be contributorily negligent, the jury then reduces the amount by the percentage of their negligence. An attorney can further explain the role of an attorney in calculating damages.
Contact a Lawyer for Help Settling an Omaha Car Accident Case
Ultimately, the injured party determines the amount of the settlement. However, they generally rely on their attorney’s good judgment. Because of this reliance, selecting an experienced attorney is important. An attorney with experience handling personal injury claims has the resources to properly evaluate the case value and review other verdicts with comparable fact patterns and can give you an idea of what a jury awarded to another person, and whether you should expect similar treatment in your circumstances. To discuss settling your car accident case in Omaha, call Berry Law for a free consultation.